Posts tagged ‘religion’

May 21, 2011

Second coming

I am on a roll here with religion and this being the day of the predicted rapture or second coming of Jesus and me giving some wrong numbers about people’s belief about this topic in this country yesterday I feel compelled to revisit the topic.

So here we go with a nice little article plus overview statistics courtesy of the Pew Forum.  So according to this 2006 Pew survey a full 79% of Christians in this country believe in the second coming of Jesus.  That is an amazing number if you think about it.

Now to the number I misstated yesterday – “only” 20% of the US Christians believe that this will happen in their lifetime.  A back of the envelop calculation shows: about 80% of the about 310 Million (307 and some odd in 2009 so I rounded up a bit) are Christians and 20% thereof believe that Jesus will return during their life time, that is a whopping 50 million people.

50 Million people living their lives expecting that there might not be a tomorrow – that is a truly scary thought.

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May 20, 2011

Rapture Day

Interesting times are just around the corner.  On May, 21 – or so the story goes in the extreme corners of the religious right – rapture day is upon us.

I just couldn't resist this one, pic: allhatnocattle.net

Rapture – for those not imminently familiar with the term – is the second coming of Jesus, when all the Christians, dead or alive, are gathered up and meet God in heaven, or the air, or somewhere.  The relevant biblical passage is 1 Thess. 4:15-17 if you want to read up.

In case you are not American you might wonder if this is some kind of tasteless joke that I am playing here but let me assure you, it is not.  There are people who believe that on May 21 of this year the rapture will occur (just like there are people who believed that many times before about seemingly random days and are still waiting).

In an interesting twist, even some of the most fundamental of right wing Christians, have publicly stated that this is nonsense.  The guy behind all of this, one Harold Camping, is no unknown in the end-of-the-world-is-near business, he already claimed back in 1994 that the rapture is upon us, but that simple facy does not seem to distract his followers.  After all, we are all wrong once in a while, right!

To round this blog out I was looking for some hard data on a number I once read and remember but have no source for, namely that 25% of American’s believe that the second coming of Jesus will be happening this year (that is an give year we just happen to have) and a full 50% believe that it will happen during their life time.  I couldn’t find any reputable stats on that but googling “believe in rapture during life time” I came  across and amazing number of webpages dedicated to the topic – go check them out yourself.

March 4, 2011

Evolution

I am going to go against my own rule here and talk about religion.  Wait, you might say “Why religion when the headline says ‘evolution'”.

Interesting and fun map showing the prevailing attitude towards evolution, pic: http://www.ridgecrest.ca.us/~do_while/sage/v6i8n.htm

And herein lies the crux.  In most other countries – at least Western countries – talking evolution would be talking science.  Not here.  Evolution is religion, or the absence thereof.  Any conversation about evolution is a conversation about religion.  Like it or not.  I don’t – but that doesn’t change a thing.

Let’s start with the language.  People here “believe” in evolution – or not.  That isn’t a scientific statement, that is a religious statement.  Even the questions in polls often promote that interpretation as they ask people about their beliefs – creationism, theistic evolution (evolution with God running the show), or naturalistic evolution (Darwinian evolution, no God). That is not a scientific question but a religious one.  Nobody would think of asking people whether they believe in DNA or the speed of light.

More sobering even are the numbers that you get in these polls.  Depending on who asks what question of whom and when the numbers come out slightly differently but the fact remains: 60 -70% of the population in this country does not “believe” in “naturalistic evolution”, another bunch doesn’t want to answer the question or doesn’t know what to answer which leaves around 15% of the population “believing” in evolution.   Just for comparison: those numbers are well into the 70s and 80s in many other Western countries.

So, when in the US, never assume that a) you are discussing science when you talk about evolution and b) that people will even agree on the basics – that evolution even exists.